David Norris | Ireland | News

Gay Irish Presidential Candidate David Norris Drops Out of Race: VIDEO

David Norris, a gay candidate once considered the front-runner in Ireland's presidential race, has bowed out of the race, following the disclosure of letters to Israeli authorities asking for clemency for a former partner, the Irish Times reports:

Norris It emerged last weekend that Mr Norris wrote a letter in 1997 to the Israeli authorities pleading on behalf of Ezra Yitzhak Nawi, who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Norris’s campaign suffered a serious blow last night when three Independent TDs withdrew their pledge to support the Trinity Senator’s nomination. Other members of the Dáil and Seanad who had pledged support for Mr Norris are also considering their position in the light of the disclosure that the Senator wrote a letter pleading for leniency for his former partner.

Said Norris: "I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner of 25 years ago, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi. The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in political and personal life...It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this negative process. I do not regret supporting and seeking clemency for a friend, but I do regret giving the impression that I did not have sufficient compassion for the victim of Ezra’s crime..."

Watch the Norris press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. This makes me so damn angry. I don't think you have to be a saint to be a politician -- in fact, the two are mutually exclusive -- but don't run when you know you couldn't win if everything about you came out. Because it will come out, damn it!

    Posted by: justme | Aug 2, 2011 2:41:22 PM

  2. Jeez. It seems like he could've weathered this out. I guess I'm used to American politicians like the one with a diaper fetish still in office after buying prostitutes.

    Posted by: sleepy bear | Aug 2, 2011 2:42:30 PM

  3. Friends stick by their friends, yes, even if they are convicted of a sexual offense - if we know them to be basically good people who made a mistake in their life. Standing by your former partner is an act of character.

    I don't know the full details of this story, but I suspect that it has to do with the hyper-sensitivity in Ireland now following the priest sexual abuse scandal.

    Too bad Ireland may have lost a good man over what in normal times would be a non-issue.

    Posted by: jimsur212 | Aug 2, 2011 3:35:31 PM

  4. This is perhaps a wake up call to gay candidates in general. Anything to do with underage people can and will be used against them. In this particular case, though, Norris showed suprising naivete and poor judgement not only by writing letters of support in his professional capacity but by making stupid remarks to the media.

    Posted by: prophet | Aug 2, 2011 4:25:19 PM

  5. Countries that adopted the Napoleonic Code (France and many others) have always regarded 15 as the age of consent. That differs from most of the English-speaking world (e.g., New York, Britain, Canada) where it is 16. I think reasonable people can disagree while respecting other opinions. But then again, there are always people who are grandstanding for odd personal motives. C'est la vie.

    Posted by: Artie Rimbaud | Aug 2, 2011 5:16:21 PM

  6. @Artie In New York the age of consent is 17, not 16 - though it is 16 in a majority of the U.S. states.

    Posted by: jimsur212 | Aug 2, 2011 5:45:57 PM

  7. @ Jimsur212,

    You're right. I was thinking of other U.S. states.

    Posted by: Artie Rimbaud | Aug 2, 2011 6:11:14 PM

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